Japan lose to Saudi Arabia threatening World Cup chances

Japan lose to Saudi Arabia threatening World Cup chances
2 min read
Japan lost to Saudi Arabia by 1-0 on Thursday, while Australia continued their winning streak against Oman scoring 3-1.
Japan has lost two out of three games so far in their qualifying group [source: Getty]

Japan surprisingly lost 1-0 to Saudi Arabia on Thursday to leave its chances of a seventh successive World Cup appearance hanging in the balance.

Japan has now lost two of the first three games in Group B to sit six points behind Saudi Arabia and leader Australia, who both have the maximum nine. 

The top two from both six-team groups qualify for next year's tournament in Qatar automatically.

Substitute Firas Al-Buraikan scored the winner in the 71st minute in Jeddah Saudi Arabia after he ran onto a wayward backpass from Gaku Shibasaki to fire a low shot past Shuichi Gonda in front of 45,000 fans at King Abdullah Sports City Stadium.

Australia defeated Oman 3-1 in Doha to stay on top of the group on goal difference and record an 11th successive qualifying victory, which Football Australia says is a FIFA record for a single qualifying series.

Football Australia said the win moved Australia past Germany, Spain, and Mexico, which each won 10 consecutive matches on their way to qualifying for Russia 2018, South Africa 2010, and Germany 2006, respectively.

Australia’s string of wins dates to September 2019 when the Socceroos’ quest to qualify for Qatar 2022 started in Kuwait City. 

En route to securing the global record, the Socceroos have kept eight clean sheets, outscoring their opponents 35 goals to three.

Australia next plays Japan on Tuesday at Saitama near Tokyo.